Children and young people

The issue

The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 recognised children as victims of domestic abuse in their own right for the first time. This was a crucial step forward, but still, the Commissioner’s mapping research found just 29 per cent of victims and survivors reported that they were able to access the specialist support they wanted for their children.

The vision

All children and young people who are subject to domestic abuse should receive an integrated and comprehensive response, rooted in understanding, prevention, effective intervention and long-term support.

The Commissioner’s work

The Domestic Abuse Commissioner is working to champion the voice of child victims of domestic abuse, better understand how children subject to domestic abuse should be supported and protected, and ensure all agencies are working together to protect child victims.

The Commissioner meets regularly with the Children’s Commissioner, the Department for Education, and other key stakeholders to drive forward changes so that children and young people subject to domestic abuse get the support and protection they need. We also work regularly with domestic abuse services at a national and local level, victims and survivors, academics and other experts to ensure their evidence closely informs our work to recommend and drive forward change. The policy and research team regularly respond to government consultations, and provide up to date evidence and advice to national and local government on the improvements needed in this area.

The Commissioner’s policy and research team are gathering vital evidence and insight which will be included in a policy report published later this year. This includes mapping the provision of support services specifically designed for children, to identify gaps and highlight good practice. The Commissioner’s team is also working to ensure the Government – both locally and nationally – truly understands the impact of domestic abuse on children, and commits to ambitious work to support children and improve how services respond to them. This will include how they are supported in school, by youth services, and through children’s social care. In particular, the Commissioner is working to ensure there is clear guidance for local agencies – like the police, GPs, and schools – on what the new statutory definition of children as victims of domestic abuse means in practice.

If you are a victim or survivor of domestic abuse who has written to the Domestic Abuse Commissioner to share your perspective on the issues facing you or your children, your email will be read by the Commissioner’s team and used anonymously as a key part of this work to drive policy and practice change for children and young people.

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